If you’re new to the fourby life – hello, welcome to the gang! The 4WD lifestyle is filled with fun and adventure, but it’s important to start slow and work yourself up to the big tracks. That’s why we’ve put together a list of four easy 4WD tracks for beginners near Sydney to get you started.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
Whether you’ve just bought your first 4WD or normally use it as your daily drive but want to test out its capabilities, you’re in for a wild ride. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of jumping in your 4WD and heading out to tracks AWDs only dream of driving on. Off-roading is fun, messy, and a true blue adventure.
Read more: The Best 4WD Accessible Campsites in NSW
However, it does come with some risks. If you don’t drive safely and within the limits of your rig, you can get bogged or worse, flip your car on its side or its head. Yes, it happens! That’s why it’s super important to start off slow and confidently tackle beginner tracks before you move on to the hard stuff.
NSW is the land of plenty, and there’s certainly plenty of 4WD tracks around Sydney to get your heart racing and your fuel light blinking (if you know, you know). To help you out, we’ve rounded up four easy 4WD tracks for beginners near Sydney. Before we get to that, please read some important info that’ll help prepare you for a safe drive.
4WD Must Dos for Beginners (and all fourby enthusiasts)
4WDing is incredibly fun, but it does come with risks if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here are some 4WD safety tips for beginners;
- Sounds obvious, but if you own an AWD (all wheel drive), don’t attempt to access 4WD tracks. It’s only going to end badly for you. Read about the difference here.
- Also, know how to use your 4WD. Again, sounds obvious but if you’re new to 4WDing, it’s a good idea to do a course or have someone teach you how to properly drive your fourby. This is a good article to help you out.
- Always go with another 4WD. This is in case you get bogged and need to be winched out. It happens to even 4WD pros, so don’t think you’re immune because you’re doing an easy track.
- Keep a pair of Maxtrax and a winch handy in the boot. A shovel is important too, as is a snatch strap. You can never be too cautious. A UHF radio is also wise so you can easily communicate with your mate in the other 4WD, or in case you need assistance and there’s no phone reception.
- A tyre deflator/inflator is also recommended, depending on the track you’re doing. It’s a good piece of equipment to have in general if you plan to do a lot of off-roading.
- 4WDing isn’t typically safe in wet weather, especially if you’re a beginner. If it’s been raining the day prior or the weatherperson says there will be rain, give it a miss.
For more detailed info: How to 4WD for Beginners
Easy 4WD Tracks Near Sydney
1. Discovery Trail: Kurrajong
Distance: 81 km (round trip – about 2 hours)
Entry fee: Free
Distance from Sydney: 97km north west (1 hour and 45 minutes)
This beginner 4WD track in Sydney is a gorgeous scenic bushland trip starting and finishing in Kurrajong. The start of the trail begins on Burralow Road and leads you down into Burralow campground and picnic area.
The trail itself traverses through the Blue Mountains National Park and Wollemi National Park. There’s a good mixture of narrow sealed and unsealed roads, highway, and 4WD trails. As you drive along, you’ll pass Mountain Lagoon, or you can go around the lagoon via Sam’s Way and onto the T3 for an amazing viewpoint overlooking the Colo River gorge and Wollemi Wilderness.
2. The Barrington Trail
Location: Barrington Tops National Park
Distance from Sydney: 262km (3 hours and 15 minutes)
Entry fees: Free
Please note! Barrington trail is closed 1 June to 30 September every year and may have to close at other times due to wet weather.
Barrington Tops trail is the ideal 4WD track for beginners and is definitely one to get amongst. It’s one of the most iconic 4WD tracks in Barrington Tops National Park, taking you from the lower Barringtons up to the Tomalla road intersection.
Fun fact! The trail has some of the oldest trees in Australia, while the Barrington Tops National Park itself forms part of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia World Heritage Area. Mountain bikes often traverse this track too – so make sure you keep an eye out for your fellow riders.
4WD only accessible camping spots in the park include Gummi Falls, Junction Pools, and Little Murray Swamp if you want to turn your run into an overnighter.
3. Stockton Beach
Location: Newcastle – Nelson Bay
Distance from Sydney: 183km north (2 hours and 15 minutes)
Entry fees: Beach permit starting from $33 for 3 days (buy permits here)
Ah, Stockton Beach. Ask any 4WD owner and they’ll probably tell you they simultaneously love and hate it. Love it because it’s a heck of a good time. Hate it because it can get insanely busy on the weekends and is often over-run with reckless drivers.
However, if you can manage to sneak away mid-week, you’ll fall in love with the Stockton Sand Dunes. Situated on Worimi Conservation Lands, the park gives you access to over 19km of beach to drive and over 350 hectares of dunes. It’s one of the largest coastal dunes driving areas in NSW. You can drive on either the beach itself or have a go on the dunes – but for beginners, sticking to the beach might be your best bet as it’s easier to drive on hard sand than the soft dune sand.
As a beginner 4WDer, definitely go with a mate and take some Maxtrax (and a shovel) with you. Also for the love of all things 4WD, deflate your tyres before driving on sand and take it slow.
You can enter the park via Lavis Lane at Williamtown or via Gan Gan Road at Anna Bay.
4. Gibraltar Rocks
Location: Northern Kanangra Boyd National Park
Distance from Sydney: 167km west (3 hours)
Entry fees: Free
The Blue Mountains is a haven for 4WD beginners and Gibraltar Rocks is certainly a good one for newbies. Situated in northern Kanangra Boyd National Park, access to Gibraltar Rocks comes off Jenolan Caves Rd to Mini Mini Range Road. There’s minimal service out there so load up maps before you go.
This track can get pretty boggy with lots of large muddy holes, so make sure you have all your recovery gear and you drop your tyre pressure before you go. The track will lead you to a four-way intersection, which is where you’ll keep going straight.
It’s all up-hill until you reach the top of the trail, which you follow until you reach Gibraltar Rocks lookout. The scenery is stunning, so don’t forget to stop, rest, and admire the view before you head back.
The Best National Parks for 4WD Beginner Tracks
Ask most 4WD owners about the best places to test out your rig as a newbie to the off-road world and they’ll say Belanglo State Forest (and they’ll probably throw in an Ivan Milat joke), Watagans National Park, and Yengo National Park. There’s a range of different tracks to tackle depending on your experience level.
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
My best advice if you’re an off-roading beginner is to join a group or club. It’s the safest way to start out and the most fun! There are groups out there specific to your 4WD make, and there are also groups like Yeah the Girls 4×4, which caters exclusively to female 4WD drivers and runs all kinds of regular 4WD trips across the country – all super fun (and free).
Feature photo thanks to @evadavisboermans